RR Garcia knows it will take more than just individual talent to lift Star back to its once elite status in the PBA.
Just 2 years removed from its Grand Slam season, the once proud Purefoods franchise struggled during the first 2 conferences under rookie coach Jason Webb.
Garcia, acquired by the team only last month, played less than 15 minutes in Star’s 99-87 loss to his former team Phoenix on Wednesday as he tries to feel his way in with the Hotshots.
“Talo kami, saka nanibago din ako dahil first time ko makasama ang mga teammates ko,” Garcia told FOX Sports on Thursday.
The 5-foot-10 Garcia missed the team’s first 2 practices this week due to tightening on his right shoulder. But he managed to play through it against his former team, who is parading a new coach in Ariel Vanguardia and several new faces led by Korean import Lee Kwan Hee.
“Bago din naman yung mga players nila (Fuel Masters) dun, tingin ko mga half sa team nila bago saka yung Korean import nila magaling din,” he added.
The former Far Eastern University playmaker said the loss to Phoenix should serve Star well since it exposes the team’s weaknesses in the last period.
“Okay naman kasi kami sa first half, pero nung second half, nagkanya-kanya na kami,” he noted. “Kaming mga guards, di rin namin na-control yung tempo ng laro, kasi naka-score kami, nakaka-score din lang sila (Fuel Masters).”
Garcia said he will just have to learn from the loss and try to be the leader as he supports his former FEU teammate Mark Barroca in the playmaking duties.
Star will play Blackwater on Saturday in a tuneup match at 2 p.m. at the SGS gym in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City.
Both teams will still play all-Filipino since Star’s balik-import Marqus Blakely will only arrive next Tuesday, while the Elite’s own comebacking import Eric Dawson will plane in Manila on July 1. – By Richard Dy
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